Russian space agency Roscosmos has claimed that YouTube has removed several videos featuring its outspoken director general Dmitry Rogozin.
In a May 8 Telegram post, Roscosmos said that YouTube had “removed from the Roscosmos Media channel all videos with the participation of Dmitry Rogozin, General Director of the Roscosmos State Corporation.”
The videos included “his interview, recordings of participation in sending humanitarian aid to the people of Donbass, [and] visits to the Vostochny Cosmodrome,” the Telegram message, translated from Russian, read. “That’s all there is to free speech the American way.”
The deletions affected an estimated “about two dozen videos” featuring Rogozin, which totaled around 5 million views, the Telegram post added.
A YouTube spokesperson would not confirm whether the videos featuring Rogozin had been removed, but said Newsweek that the company changed its content policies in the context of the war in Ukraine and removed more than 60,000 videos and 8,000 channels for violating its Community Guidelines and Terms of Service in this regard.
“Our teams have closely followed the ongoing war in Ukraine, including analyzing advice from outside experts and government agencies,” they said. “In response to a variety of factors, we have expanded our Major Violent Events policy to cover content that denies, minimizes or trivializes Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
“Enforcement of this policy has included: suspension of download privileges for channels associated with the Russian Defense and Foreign Ministries for denying the war and calling it a ‘liberation mission’.”
Rogozin, a staunch supporter of President Vladimir Putin’s regime, is known for his sensational and inflammatory statements regarding Russia’s ongoing invasion of Ukraine. He had public arguments on Twitter with the likes of Elon Musk and former NASA astronaut Scott Kelly.
May 9 Rogozin tweeted in Russian that the Russian military was “liberating Ukraine from resurgent fascism” – repeating similar rhetoric expressed by Putin.
It’s a line that has drawn backlash from historians, many of whom have come together in a group called Scholars of Genocide, Nazism and World War II to write: “We strongly reject the Russian government’s cynical abuse of term genocide, the memory of the world’s World War II and the Holocaust, and the equation of the Ukrainian state with the Nazi regime to justify its unprovoked aggression.” The statement was published in the Jewish newspaper briefing.
Meanwhile, Rogozin criticized international condemnation of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, warning that Roscosmos may stop cooperating on the International Space Station (ISS).
Rogozin also expressed high ambitions for Russia in space, despite the loss of international customers from Roscosmos. The experts said Newsweek that such ambitions, which include missions to Mars and an independent space station, are currently unlikely.
As a result of the Russian invasion, 3,459 civilians died in Ukraine between the start of the invasion and May 9, including 238 children, according to the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR). Actual numbers may be much higher.